The Telegraph
Monday , April 28 , 2014
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Summer tale of two cities Ranchi water kiosks cry dry

The scorch season has arrived, with all guns blazing, and capital commuters have a long way to go till monsoon brings relief.

While the rising mercury is determined to make life hell, most of the 26 water kiosks spread across the city have run dry, adding to the woes of thousands of people who are forced to hit the streets daily.

In a state like Jharkhand, not many can afford bottled water to quench their thirst. Considering that thousands of people commute on city roads daily, as many as 24 drinking water outlets were constructed across the state capital in 2008-09. The two kiosks near Morabadi grounds were set up in 2001, during the first Statehood Day celebrations.

While 20 of the 24 drinking water kiosks were installed at a cost of around Rs 50 lakh (cumulative expenditure) from MPLAD funds, four others were donated by clubs.

Six years down the line, most of these kiosks don’t even have taps, let alone drinking water.

Only two kiosks — one near Kutchery Chowk and another near CCL second gate — still offer water.

“The one near CCL squirts water constantly because the tap is damaged. It flows as long as there is water in the tank. You can’t stop it,” said a local resident.

The two kiosks near Morabadi grounds have disappeared. “The tiles, taps and pipes all were stolen,” a zilla parishad source said.

Even as exhausted, thirsty commuters are left high and dry on city roads, district and civic officials are clueless.

Sources said although the kiosks were installed under the supervision of zilla parishad engineers, they fall under the RMC jurisdiction.

“And there is no clear-cut guideline as to who should take up repair and maintenance,” one of them added.

Shyam Das, executive engineer of the zilla parishad, admitted that most water outlets had run dry owing to lack of maintenance.

“There is no provision to repair or maintain water outlets constructed with MP funds,” he claimed.

When contacted, zilla parishad chairperson Sundari Tirkey told The Telegraph that they would request the RMC to repair the kiosks.

“Since all water outlets are in the urban area, I am sure the urban development department will take initiatives to repair them. Timely maintenance may help lakhs of commuters quench their thirst,” Tirkey added.

RMC’s CEO Manoj Kumar, on the other hand, said, “The municipal body has already started taking initiatives to repair tube-wells and install additional ones in all the 55 wards. Regarding the water kiosks, however, I am not in a position to comment immediately as maintenance will incur expenses.”

On whether he would take any initiative, as the zilla parishad chairperson was likely to request the RMC to maintain them, Kumar said, “If required, we will seek guidance from the urban development department.”

In Jharkhand, files take ages to move from one table to another. So, commuters may find it easy to fight the heat, carry water or buy bottled ones, instead of waiting for the authorities concerned to swing into action.

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